Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci and nature


Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an influential Renaissance polymath best known for painting the Mona Lisa. He is also credited with many inventions including parachutes, helicopters and tanks. Leonardo da Vinci's interests included painting, sculpting, architecture, mathematics, anatomy, geology, music, astronomy and botany. Historian Sherwin Nuland says,
The more the manuscripts of Leonardo are studied, the more one begins to see him not so much as a transcendent artist, but primarily as a man of science, whose skills and commissions as an artist and engineer enabled him to support his fascination with nature. (Leonardo Da Vinci, 2000)
Writer Edwin MacCurdy says,
What thinker has ever possessed the cosmic vision so insistently? He sought to establish the essential unity of structure of all living things, the earth an organism with veins and arteries, the body of a man a type of that of the world.
This post is a collection of quotes from Leonardo da Vinci about the philosophy of science.

Philosophy of science


"We, by our arts may be called the grandsons of God." (Quoted by The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Rudolf Flesch)

"Fire may be represented as the destroyer of all sophistry, and as the image and demonstration of truth; because it is light and drives out darkness which conceals all essences [or subtle things]." (Quoted by The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Rudolf Flesch)

"Though I may not, like them, be able to quote other authors, I shall rely on that which is much greater and more worthy - on experience, the mistress of their Masters. They go about puffed up and pompous, dressed and decorated with [the fruits], not of their own labours, but of those of others. And they will not allow me my own. They will scorn me as an inventor." (Quoted by The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Rudolf Flesch)

"Human subtlety... will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous." (Quoted by The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Rudolf Flesch)

"The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature; and the ear is the second, which acquires dignity by hearing of the things the eye has seen." (Quoted by The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Rudolf Flesch)

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